Chiropractors tout many benefits for patients who seek their care, such as headache relief, pain management, immunity improvement and energy. Some practitioners also believe that chiropractic adjustments to the lower back can nurture weight loss. Even so, they recognize that their treatments alone will not induce weight loss. It all comes down to treating your body well.
Chiropractic is a drug-free health care practice relying on spinal adjustments, which, according to proponents, allow the body to be receptive to healing and staying well. Chiropractors perform these adjustments, also called manipulations, to the neck, upper back and lower back using their hands or another instrument. A manipulation is designed to restore mobility, reduce pain and alleviate muscle tightness in the surrounding joints and tissue.
Practitioners of chiropractic care believe it can affect the way a person's body operates. "Organ function, hormone levels, metabolism, digestion and every other function, in one way or another, have to alter in order to adapt to the body's current state," says April Warhola, a chiropractor with Cafe of Life Grant Park in Atlanta. "A chiropractic adjustment may encourage weight loss by restoring the body to a state of ease."
Because chiropractors treat the body as a whole, they might be reluctant to rely on one type of adjustment --- to the lower back, for example --- to fix a problem. However, a small amount of evidence suggests that low-back manipulation can aid in the digestion process, according to an article by chiropractor Charles Masarsky in "Dynamic Chiropractic." Spinal nerves are affiliated with the gastrointestinal tract and can affect the speed at which food passes through. Thus, a manipulation to those nerves may mean better digestion.
Chiropractors acknowledge that their profession is not a quick fix or magic cure for weight loss --- or any other ailment. Still, they believe that regular visits to the clinic offer the best chance for patients to realize their goals. Practitioners will outline a treatment plan for individual patients. People who are seeking weight-loss help through lower-back adjustments also can expect to receive manipulations to the rest of the spine.
Chiropractic care should not be the sole factor in a weight-loss plan. Part of the chiropractor's job is to educate patients on safe, effective techniques for diet and physical activity. Some practitioners also may sell nutritional supplements to enhance or complement treatment, although the efficacy of these products remains unproven. As with any weight-loss program, do your research to ensure healthy habits that lead to long-term results.